Congratulations Hilary

The Destination Nene Valley (DNV) partnership has announced that Hilary Merricks, a volunteer for the Settlers of the Nene Valley project, has won the first Nene Valley star award.

 The award was set up to recognise the dedication and passion of those working in the tourism industry, who have also gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that residents and visitors have a great experience in the Nene Valley.

 Hilary was nominated for her work on the ancestral garden at Stanwick Lakes, leading a small but dedicated team of volunteers. The garden is part of the Settlers of the Nene Valley project, which looks at how we would have lived in this area from the Stone Age to medieval times and is funded by the Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme and Rockingham Forest Trust.

In addition to developing and working on the garden, Hilary is a pivotal part of the Settlers Team, spending time on planning and research as well as keeping in touch with the garden volunteers.

 Winner of the first Nene Valley Star, Hilary Merricks said:

 “It’s been a strange year for everyone so it’s great to have been voted the first Nene Valley Star for doing something I really enjoy. But I couldn’t have created the ancestral garden without the hard work put in by our volunteers and the support of the Heritage Manager at Stanwick Lakes.”

 Earlier in the year, 20 nominations from members of the public and DNV partners were reduced down to three finalists, Hilary Merricks, Bryan Day and Pat Byrne from the Wellingborough and District Nene Angling Club and Buddies of Beckets. The winner was then decided in a public vote.

 Cllr Sarah Peacock, Chairman of the Destination Nene Valley project and East Northamptonshire Councillor said:

 “With this year being so difficult for the tourism industry, we are delighted to crown our very first Nene Valley star.

 “Across the Valley, there are dedicated volunteers who go above and beyond to ensure that everyone has a great experience in the Nene Valley and Hilary is no exception.

“She truly is a worthy winner and the ancestral garden at Stanwick Lakes is a credit to her and the whole team.”

 The Destination Nene Valley project is led by East Northamptonshire Council who work with local tourism partners and the Nenescape Landscape partnership to build on existing framework to better position and promote the Nene Valley.

 Once countrywide restrictions are lifted, Hilary Merricks will be awarded with a trophy, £200 of vouchers and free publicity and promotion via and the other two finalists will also be awarded with a small trophy and £50 of vouchers.

 For more information about the Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme visit

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